World Class Modeling, Simulation & Training

Leadership Orlando Gets First Hand Experience

The Central Florida Region boasts the highest concentration of modeling, simulation and training related activities in the nation. We are home to the UCF’s Institute for Simulation & Training, the National Center for Simulation, significant modeling and simulation activities for all four branches of the armed forces, and hundreds of entrepreneurs and emerging businesses who develop systems and technologies supporting a variety of industries including the military, government, healthcare, public service (firefighters and police), entertainment/attractions and the private sector.

The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference (I/ITSEC) was the venue for our Leadership Orlando session on Thursday. The Members of Class 92 didn’t have to travel far to participate in the largest modeling & simulation conference in the world because it is held right here in Central Florida at the Orange County Convention Center. 

After a welcome by Class 92 Chair, Waymon Armstrong, CEO of Engineering & Computer Simulations, CAPT Steve “Snak” Nakagawa, US Navy (Ret.), served as our moderator and set the stage for what our class members would learn and experience at I/ITSEC. A Team Orlando briefing was presented by CAPT Erik O. Etz, Commanding Officer, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD). Both Nakagawa and Etz are graduates of Leadership Orlando, Classes 81 and 88 respectively.

Presentations made by representatives of the gaming, healthcare, education and the manufacturing sectors  included:  Peter Morrison, Co-CEO, Bohemia Interactive Simulations; Shiva Kalidindi MD, Medical Director, Nemours Institute for Clinical Excellence; Heather Norton, Vice President-Education Programs, Orlando Science Center; and Leadership Orlando Class 88 Chair, Carol Craig, Founder and CEO of Craig Technologies.

RADM Jim Robb, USN (Ret.), President of the National Training and Simulation Association, focused on the importance of the MS&T industry here in Central Florida, acknowledging that Central Florida is the epicenter for modeling, simulation & training worldwide. Countries around the world are represented at the I/ITSEC Conference.

Lt. Gen. Thomas L. Baptiste, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), President of the National Center for Simulation, wrapped up the morning session with a discussion on upcoming challenges for our community in the form of potential decisions by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC), and the important work of the “Blue Ribbon” Commission on MS&T, stressing the reasons our community needs to continue working with the Metro Orlando Defense Task Force to protect this regional asset.

A special luncheon for the group was hosted by Terry E. Ross, (LO 84), Director of Sales & Marketing with Centerplate, Inc., and after a primer on what to expect after lunch, participants had free time to explore the Conference Floor with full access to the extensive exhibit hall. Class Members had the chance to pilot (and sometimes crash) helicopters, shoot M16s, and enter virtual worlds to participate in ground assaults – all in simulation, of course! Real life demonstrations of systems that translate to the private sector in the areas of healthcare, fire and EMT training and others showed Class Members how impactful these technologies are in our everyday lives. 

At times it was hard to distinguish the enthusiasm of the Leadership Orlando participants from that of hundreds of high school students who were also in attendance to take advantage of the opportunity to test their skills on the latest in cutting-edge simulation technology. Exposure to these types of career opportunities will surely have a positive influence on future military personnel, engineers, scientists and technicians for years to come.

Leadership Orlando Class 92 saw not only the power of the MS&T Industry in our region, but also the unique asset that we have right here in Central Florida – the Orange County Convention Center – showcasing our region to the world.

If you have been looking for the “right” time to participate in Leadership Orlando, or know someone who should be a part of these unique opportunities, now is indeed the perfect time to be a part of America’s largest Community Leadership program.  Preparing for the future of our region is up to each of us.  Now is the time to learn about the issues, participate in challenging conversations and help in guiding our future. 

Leadership Orlando Class 93 will begin in March 2017, with Yolanda Londoño, Vice President, Global Social Responsibility at Tupperware Brands Corporation, serving as Class Chair.  Click here for more information. The online enrollment form and full schedule is available at Should you have questions, contact Danielle Permenter at 407.835.2444, or via email at

About Leadership Orlando
Developing regional leaders is important to the future success of the Central Florida Region. That is why Regional Leadership is a primary line of business for the Central Florida Partnership. With more than forty years of proven success, Leadership Orlando, America’s largest community leadership program, continues to recruit, cultivate and encourage emerging leaders to better serve the Central Florida Region. 

Working together with Orlando, Inc., (Regional Entrepreneurship), BusinessForce (Public Policy Advocacy), and (Regional Research & Resolves), the Central Florida Partnership is moving “Ideas to Results.”

Click here to learn more about Leadership Orlando
Click here for a listing of the 2016-2019 Leadership Team


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